Foot Balms and Scrubs-Putting Your Best Foot Forward
It's hard to believe that Spring is coming to an end, and when the summer months loom ahead, I admittedly look down at the most abused parts of my body and realize they're in no condition for an unveiling. What makes some of us neglect our feet for such long periods of time, only to be shocked at their condition when it's time to pull out the sandals and flip-flops we all love so much? In my case, it's pure laziness.
Most of us take our feet for granted, me included. We don't think about the fact that they carry us around all day long, and we don't consider the beating these very complex structures take on a daily basis. The foot is made up of twenty-eight bones that are more-or-less sewn together by the ligaments, muscles and tendons that surround them. They're often over-used, ill housed in improperly sized shoes, and thoroughly neglected. When you think about it, don't they deserve a little extra attention?
Caring for your feet at home is not only a simple process, but one that's well worth the time invested. The first step in the process is softening the skin, a short ten minute immersion in warm water, followed by a quick sea-salt scrub and massage. If you're really short on time, simply keep a pumice stone handy in the shower stall and give your feet a thorough going over before exiting. Afterward, slather your feet with foot balm before putting on a pair of warm, fuzzy socks. That's it, and if you think about it...... the regular use of a pumice stone is a time saver in itself.
Soaking at Leisure
Although I always seem to be running short of time, nothing beats a long, leisurely soak for achy, tired feet. Unwind and soften calluses by mixing one cup of cider vinegar with a gallon of warm water. When the water begins to cool, rub your feet with sea salt (coarse), rinse, dry and moisturize. If you don't have any sea salt available, a foot brush will do. As you can see, this small indulgence requires no more effort than opening the door of a cabinet and filling a basin with water.
Wheat Germ Oil
Another simple recipe to treat the aches and provide much needed nourishment for dry skin can be attained by adding a few drops of wheat-germ oil to water, two to three tablespoons should do the trick. Obtained from the kernel or heart of the wheat grain, wheat-germ contains a total of twenty-three different nutrients and can be used both topically and internally. In this case, we're using it to moisturize and soothe our feet with a myriad of vitamins (A,D,B,E), antioxidants and fatty acids, which will help to heal dry, cracked skin (think winter heels).
Wheat germ oil also makes a great moisturizer for the body. Easily absorbed, it will make your skin smooth to the touch without the greasiness that accompanies some oils. Base oils like carrot or jojoba will help you to create the perfect blend; essential oils may also be added. Wheat-germ oil can be readily purchased for use at home in eight or sixteen ounce bottles and can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to one year. People with wheat or gluten allergies should avoid using this product.
Jojoba oil, as mentioned above is a great base oil for use in natural beauty products, but it also provides many benefits of its own. Jojoba, an evergreen shrub, produces tiny, pea-like seeds (female plants) which yield a valuable oil used in a variety of expensive skin and hair care products. Loaded with unsaturated fats, jojoba oil is an excellent skin moisturizer, which easily penetrates the skin helping to keep it smooth and supple. Odorless, jojoba serves as the perfect oil base in which to blend your favorite scent.
Jojoba oil's anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties also make it an excellent source of relief from skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis and foot conditions such as athlete's foot and toe nail fungus. To make a natural foot balm specifically aimed at athlete's foot, you will need the following; a double boiler, cosmetic jar, four teaspoons each of wheat-germ and jojoba oils, two teaspoons of beeswax, and tea-tree essential oil (25 drops). Once you have collected all your ingredients, heat the wheat-germ and jojoba oils with your beeswax in the double boiler until the beeswax is completely melted (your mixture should take on a creamy in texture). Once you have the proper consistency, remove the mixture from the heat and stir until it is cool to the touch (literally stir until cool). Lastly, blend your essential oil (tea-tree) into the mixture, pour into a cosmetic jar, and apply as necessary. The combination of beeswax and jojoba oil in the balm will thicken as it cools. This foot balm will stay fresh for approximately one year.
Beeswax, an integral ingredient for achieving a creamy texture in homemade foot balm is a natural product of honey production, which is obtained by melting empty honeycombs. Amazingly, this readily available base ingredient, which has been around for as long as...... well, forever, has suddenly become all the rage in beauty products from the local drug store to the finest cosmetic counters in the world. Balms and lotions made with beeswax coat the skin, which prevents dehydration and protects your skin from the elements.
Beeswax supplies the body in the balm. It adds weight, thickness and moisture, but best of all, it can be used with any number of other moisturizing ingredients. My favorite foot balm recipe to make at home can be prepared in a double-boiler or saucepan (I find double-boilers eliminate the chance of scorching) by melting equal parts of beeswax, cocoa butter and almond oil (five ounces each). For aroma, I throw in around ten drops of essential coconut oil, although you can add the essential oil of your choice. Balms and lotions made with beeswax coat the skin, preventing dehydration and protecting it from the elements.
Creating natural beauty products is fun and challenging, but if you don't have the time or the desire. there are countless foot products available in the marketplace. I love working with oil bases and creating texture, striving for the creamiest balm possible, and then playing with a variety of essential oils to find just the right fragrance. Actually, it's my favorite part of the process.In the words of Andrew Weil, "Our feet are out body's connection to the earth." Let's try to treat them right........
The Complete Guide to Natural Healing, International Masters Publishers AB